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The Mum Shirl Unit (MSU) is named to honour the memory of Shirley Smith (22 November 1921 - 28 April 1998), better known as Mum Shirl. She was a prominent Aboriginal Australian and activist committed to justice and welfare of Aboriginal Australians. For this work she was awarded a Member of the British Empire (1975), and an Order of Australia (1985).
The MSU is the first purpose built high-dependency unit in Corrective Services NSW specifically designed to address criminogenic factors related to "at-risk" female offenders. The 19 bed unit provides safe and secure housing for female offenders with complex personality, developmental, psychological and psychiatric issues. The MSU utilises multi-disciplinary assessment, management and treatment.
The MSU provides tailored intervention, coordinated case management, and progression planning of female offenders who have difficulties adjusting to the mainstream prison environment. This is part of the Corrective Services NSW's state-wide mental health, managing female offenders and suicide prevention strategies.
The MSU is based on the principles of the Good Lives Model. The MSU addresses the Risk, Needs, Responsivity factors and promotes alternate pro-social behaviour in a therapeutic community environment (Social Learning Theory). Recognition of individual needs and current motivation (Stages of Change) is imperative to effective intervention.